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Bitterne bypass

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Bitterne Bypass
Location Map ( geo)
A3024 Maybray King Way - Coppermine - 5273.JPG
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Bitterne, Southampton
Scheme Type
Opening Date
On road(s)

The A3024 Bitterne Bypass "Maybray King Way" is a dual-carriageway bypass of Bitterne, a suburb of Southampton.


Until the nineteenth century there was no village of Bitterne. There was a very small settlement nearer the river at Bitterne Manor, as well as a number of manor houses in the area, and clusters of farm workers cottages, but nothing at all in what is now the centre.

Chessel House was built in 1796 by David Lance. To improve access to his land, he encouraged the building of a new bridge across the Itchen in Southampton (Northam Bridge), and roads from there to Botley and to another new bridge over the Hamble near Bursledon, with the fork between these two roads at what is now the centre of Bitterne. There was just time for a village to spring up around the junction before the whole thing was engulfed by Southampton.

Bitterne npe.png

When roads were first classified in 1922, none of the roads in Bitterne were classified, but a few years later the road out of Southampton and over the Hamble became A3024 (part of it later became A27), while the road from the fork in Bitterne out towards Botley became A334.

The bypass

The A3024 and A344 were (and are) the main roads in to Southampton from the East. The amount of traffic on them would have grown enormously, not only because of increasing car usage generally, but because Southampton was at this time expanding rapidly Eastwards, so people living in the new housing estates of Harefield, Thornhill, Sholing, and Bitterne itself, would have needed to use these roads to get to the city centre.

In the 1950s the A3024 was dualled over a newly rebuilt Northam Bridge and (with a short single carriageway section over the railway which remains to this day) up the hill towards Bitterne.

In 1967 the bypass is mentioned in a written answer to Parliament as part of the principal roads programme, and it's mentioned again the following year in a list of planned town bypass schemes.

The next mention of it in parliament is in 1976, when a question is asked about the reason for the delay. The written answer suggests that part of the reason is the transfer of responsibility from Southampton City Council to Hampshire County Council, as Southampton, like other places at that time, ceased to be a county borough.

That answer suggests that construction was going to start imminently, but in fact it was several more years before anything happened, and the bypass finally opened in 1982.

The road is officially called Maybray King Way, after Horace Maybray King, who had been mayor of Southampton before serving as an MP for twenty years.

Photo tour

Bitterne Bypass 1.jpg This is the start of the bypass, coming Eastbound up the hill out of Southampton. The old road continues up Lance's Hill, while the bypass goes off to the left. There is a contraflow bus lane up Lance's Hill, and a right turn lane to access it (as you can see the taxi doing in this photo). Otherwise, Lance's Hill is one way, with the GSJ further round the bypass used for other movements.
Bitterne Bypass 2.jpg Just round the corner from the previous photo, there is a pedestrian crossing. This crosses only the Eastbound carriageway; pedestrians are then expected to walk a few metres along the central reservation and cross the Westbound carriageway at the traffic lights at Lance's Hill.
Bitterne Bypass 3.jpg It may be a dual carriageway with no accesses and a GSJ, but the speed limit is still 30mph, and it's enforced by these speed cameras. You can see the GSJ in the distance under the bridge.
Bitterne Bypass 4.jpg Here you can see the deceleration lane for the Eastbound exit of the GSJ. The GSJ provides access to West End Road, which is the one over the bridge in this photo, and by it to Bitterne village.

Weird cycling facility here. Dashed lines suggest cyclists are supposed to cycle on top of the yellow lines as far as the gap in the railings, where they can go up a dropped kerb, loop round a bit, give way to pedestrians, and then cross the exit slip onto the island between the slips.

Bitterne bypass cycle 2.jpg On this island, there appear to be two choices for cyclists, one marked with paint, the other recessed.

Definitely easier, and almost certainly safer too, is to ignore these odd features and stick to the road.

Bitterne Bypass 5.jpg Looking up between the Eastbound exit and entry slips (which soon become a two way slip road, although there appears to be a temporary barrier between them further up).
Bitterne Bypass 6.jpg There are three lanes Eastbound between the West End Road junction and the A334. The lane is gained from the West End Road on-slip, and becomes the A334. Eastbound A334 traffic is free-flowing, while the A3024 stops at traffic lights because of the conflict with Westbound A334 traffic.
Bitterne Bypass 7.jpg Looking along the A3024. At the far set of lights the Bitterne bypass ends, and so does the dual carriageway; a slight left turn takes you onto the original, still single carriageway, route of the A3024.
Bitterne Bypass 8.jpg Looking down the Westbound off slip at the West End Road junction, from West End Road. There is a turning for a car park half way up the slip road.

There is no Westbound on slip here; Lance's Hill is used.

Bitterne Bypass 9.jpg Another view of the Eastbound sliproads of the GSJ, as seen from the West End Road.
Bitterne Bypass 10.jpg Looking the other way from West End Road, with a good view towards Southampton.


Bitterne from A334.jpg Approaching Bitterne along the A334, you can see from the buildings in the distance that this is on the line of the High Street. A pedestrian subway leads under the bypass and onto the High Street.
Bitterne 1.jpg The whole of Bitterne High Street is now pedestrianised.
Red Lion in Bitterne.jpg The Red Lion pub is at what was once the fork between the A334 (left) and A3024 (right).

The lion that now stands on the brick pillar in the foreground was once on top of some buildings that were demolished when the bypass was built.

Bitterne 2.jpg Further down the High Street. These photos might appear to show that the shops in Bitterne are not much used. In fact the High Street was very busy, just not the bits I photographed.
Bitterne 3.jpg The end of the High Street. Opposite is the top of Lance's Hill.
220px Looking down Lance's Hill, at the A3024 and the city centre.

Bitterne bypass
Related Pictures
View gallery (23)
Bitterne bypass cycle 2.jpgBitterne Bypass 5.jpgBitterne 2.jpgBitterne Bypass 9.jpgA3024 Bitterne Road West - Coppermine - 3384.JPG
Other nearby roads
NCN2 • NCN23 • NCN236 • A27 • A33 • A35 • A36 • A36(M) • A326 • A334 • A335 • A336 • A3024 • A3025 • A3035 • A3057 • A3067 • B3033 • B3035 • B3036 • B3038 • B3039 • B3040 (Central Southampton) • B3040 (Southampton Common - Bitterne) • B3041 (Southampton) • B3042 (Hampshire) • B3053 • B3057 (Southampton) • B3380 (Southampton) • B3397 • C20 (Southampton) • C68 (Southampton) • C69 (Southampton) • C74 (Southampton) • C351 (Southampton) • C500 (Southampton) • C501 (Southampton) • C502 (Southampton) • C503 (Southampton) • C504 (Southampton) • C505 (Southampton) • C506 (Southampton) • E1 (Old System) • E05 • M3 • M27 • M270 • M271 • M272 • T7 (Britain) • T37 (Britain) • T39 (Britain) • Townhill Link Motorway

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